The greatness of grains.
Good for your tummy, protein levels and wallet, I’m becoming ever more partial to meals involving different grains and pulses. A particular snack pot in Pret being one I’ve grown fond of recently; quinoa, red rice, salmon and peas under a squeeze of lemon. It’s a healthy little bite that perks up my brain when I’m flagging in the office mid afternoon, but you really don’t get much for your money.
It’s this kind of start point I use for coming up with dish ideas, I find something that takes my fancy and tweak it to make a meal that tickles my tastebuds perfectly — without robbing me of my hard earned.
For this adaptation I went big on texture. Red rice, some mixed quinoa and bulgar wheat makes for a healthy and nutty combo, which I spiked with sweet bursts of pea and big chunks of rich, crispy seared salmon and topped with a light lemon and mint dressing. It’s a protein packed lunch that’s full of flavour and is delicious eaten warm or chilled.
- 200g red rice, cooked as per the pack instructions
- 200g mixed grains — bulgar wheat, red and white quinoa
- 200g frozen peas, sat in cold water to thaw out
- 2 thick salmon or trout fillets, I like skin on but you could use without if you prefer
- Juice of a juicy lemon
- A handful of fresh mint
- 100mls natural skinny yogurt
- 100mls reduced fat crème fraîche
- 1 block of halloumi, diced
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Olive oil for cooking
- Sea salt and black pepper
- To cook the mixed grains, toast them in a saucepan with a little olive oil for a few minutes, stirring, then add the water and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and put the lid on for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat off and let it stand for 5 minutes. Fork through to make fluffy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mixed grains and rice and mix thoroughly.
- After the peas have thawed a little, drain them and add them to the grains, then season the dish liberally with sea salt and black pepper.
- In a frying pan add a little olive oil and on a high heat, cook the halloumi, tossing in the oil and turning them in the pan so they brown. Remove the halloumi from the heat and add it to the grains and peas, mix together.
- In a food processor place the yogurt, crème fraîche, lemon and mint and blitz until smooth - you could do this by hand, you’d just need to finely chop the mint yourself.
- Finally, in a frying pan heat a knob of butter and a little cooking oil until the butter starts to foam on a high heat. Season the salmons skin side with salt and pepper and place them skin side down in the pan and cook for around 5 minutes. Season the other side and turn them over and cook for 2 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the fish in the pan to cook through in the residual heat for around 5 minutes.
- Take the salmon out of the pan and break in to chunks with your fingers and add to the grains. Mix gently to combine all the ingredients and serve, topping with the sharp dressing.